Sign O' The Times
First indication we're looking at something from the early-90's? Within the first 5 pages we've already had appearances from Chris Sabo (with goggles), Vendela & Kathy Ireland. Strong start.
The first highlight from the Letters section is so good I'm just going to go ahead and transcribe the whole thing...
Wait a minute! You finally give the Cleveland Cavaliers some overdue attention (Can The Cavs Finally Jam? March 15) and they come off as hayseeds from the set of Hee Haw. In Cleveland we love the Cavs as players and, more importantly, as upstanding citizens of our community. Lenny Wilkens will soon be the NBA's winningest coach, and Northeast Ohio knows him as the Knights of Columbus choice for Catholic of the Year. We respect Brad Daugherty for extolling the virtues of Cleveland and a college education on The Arsenio Hall Show. We love Mark Price for his all-out hustle, leadership and marksmenship on the court, and for the example he provides our young people at The Chapel in Akron. We relate to the blue-collar work ethic of Craig Ehlo and Hot Rod Williams's total unselfishness as our super sub, plus the toughness of all our role players - even Danny Ferry, with his continuing struggles.
You missed the hoop on this one. Air ball! The real story behind these Cavs is one of unspoiled and unselfish players who seem to like each other as people and as athletes. That cliche about family values really applies to this special team.
Lyle R. Pohly
Wow. So many questions after reading that letter. Like, is that Brad Daugherty-Arsenio Hall footage up on youtube yet? What do you get for winning the Northeast Ohio Catholic of the Year award? And, finally, did Lyle really drop an "Air ball!" taunt in a letter to S.I.?
Moving on, two readers wrote in to comment on a recent article about Bulls GM Jerry Krause. One guy said he thanks Krause for every single Bulls victory and claims his accomplishments are underrated. The other guy calls him a mediocre GM and argues that the Bulls wouldn't be a .500 team without Jordan. You can decide which guy was more right in the final analysis.
Finally, Lawrence T. Stoogenke (great name) of Stamford, CT wrote in to question how Phoenix Suns fans could've left Walter Davis off of their 25th anniversary team. The starting 5, as voted by the fans, was Paul Westphal, Jeff Hornacek, Alvan Adams, Charles Barkley and Tom Chambers. I don't feel like doing a ton of research but that seems like a valid point. Davis is still the all-time leading scorer in Suns history I believe. I'd have ranked him and K.J. ahead of Hornacek.
Bring Back The Smythe
In the Scorecard section, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is praised for getting rid of the old division and conference names and replacing them with "more user-friendly" geographic ones. Screw that. I hated it then and I still hate it now. I'd much rather still have the Adams, Patrick, Norris and Smythe divisions. Not to mention the Wales and Campbell conferences. Who cares if the other way is more "user-friendly?"
Hatin' On Vinny
"Testaverde looks like a quarterback, acts like a quarterback, he even talks like a quarterback. But he's got the heart of a placekicker."
-quote from Tim McDonald in the Florida Times-Union after Vinny left Tampa to sign with Cleveland
Mike Tyson Report
What was Iron Mike up to in the spring of 1993, you ask? Well, he was in prison. And he was reportedly about to convert to Islam and change his name to Malik Abdul Aziz. Which, apparently, he did end up doing according to his Wiki page. Also, according to his Wiki page, Tyson has 7 children: Gena, Mikey, D'Amato, Rayna, Amir, Miguel and Exodus. Awesome.
The cover story by Alexander Wolff, on Carolina's victory over Michigan in the national title game, was focused more on Dean Smith's greatness than Chris Webber's timeout. The headlines and the pictures are on Webber. And there's an insert titled "I Cost Our Team the Game" all about it as well. But the main article was really focused much more on Smith and the Heels.
One thing that was kind of news to me is that Michigan led by 4 with about 4:00 left. I didn't remember that. I thought they were chasing most of the game. But the game was very back-and-forth according to the story. And Michigan actually had a double-digit lead at one point.
Couple good points, which Wolff mentions in the story, on the Webber/timeout stuff.....1)Webber almost definitely traveled before he even took the timeout. 2)UNC had a bunch of fouls to give so, even if he doesn't call that timeout, Michigan's going to have a hard time getting a shot away in the final 10 seconds.
Best part of the story? I nominate these lines...
There also abides in Smith much of the activist spirit that helped integrate lunch counters and campaigned for a nuclear freeze - the man who, like John Stuart Mill, believes that society is perfectible. The coach takes after the public man, and thus his teams are the product of constant refinement.
Gotta respect anyone that can work a John Stuart Mill reference into a game story.
Birth Of The Marlins
Some highlights from Tim Kurkjian's article on the first game in Florida Marlins history, a 6-3 win behind starter Charlie Hough over the Dodgers...
-First AB in Marlins history was Hough against Jose Offerman. Charlie fanned him on 3 pitches.
-From 1982-1989 only Jack Morris won more games in the majors than Hough which, having lived through the 80's, seems semi-impossible to me.
-As of the article, Hough was the only pitcher in major league history to throw at least 375 innings both as a starter and a reliever.
-Chuck Carr, described as "an accomplished breakdancer," claimed he would steal 100 bases and could play CF as well as Andy Van Slyke. So, basically, he was biting Willie Mays Hayes' routine 4 years after Majoe League came out. Didn't do as well as Willie either. Chuck stole 58 bases in '93 which was the only time in his career he cracked 32 steals.
-Pitcher Bob McClure wrote a book called Rotting: The Craze of the 90's. According to Bob the book's about "doing nothing, looking like you're doing nothing, but not feeling guilty about it." It's currently unavailable on Amazon....
There is one customer review though. From 1998.
-SS Alex Arias used to rub a "red-haired voodoo Trool Doll" for good luck.
More Expansion '93 Tidbits
-Based on the records of previous expansion teams S.I. predicted that neither the Marlins nor the Rockies would have a winning season until at least 2000. Both beat that prediction with ease. The Rockies had 3 winning seasons in a row starting in 1995, including a wild card appearance. And, of course, the Marlins won the World Series in 1997.
-A blurb on Mile High Stadium, the Rockies' home for the 1993 season, speculates on whether the altitude would create a big home-field advantage. No mention of the impact it would have on offensive numbers as a whole though.
Sounded Good At The Time
In an article about the NFL free agency season being marked by numerous big-money deals for O-linemen, comes this this quote from Colts GM Jim Irsay...
"It's been a land rush to get the linemen. But we've got a franchise quarterback in Jeff George, and we're determined to protect our investment."
A year later George was shipped to Atlanta.
Moving on, the next story is a 3-page profile on Muggsy Bogues which, among other things, features a sublime picture of Muggsy trying to set a screen on Bill Laimbeer. I also enjoyed these two quotes from the story...
"People always say we'll probably never see another Larry Bird. But I've always felt we a better chance of seeing another Larry Bird than we do another Muggsy Bogues. Nobody has ever done what Muggsy is doing. And you really don't get the full effect of Muggsy until you go up and stand next to him."
-Hornets coach Allan Bristow
(You can debate the Bird-Bogues stuff all you like. I'm just enjoying the phrase "full effect of Muggsy.")
"Will a midget really bother Patrick Ewing?"
-Former Hornets coach Dick Harter, speaking from his hands and knees, mocking Muggsy and explaining to reporters why he didn't use Muggsy to front Ewing in certain defensive sets.
(Sadly, to this day, I'm not sure we've ever adaquetly answered this question. It's one of life's great mysteries.)
Sounded Good at the Time, Part II
In a story about Rock Newman, manager of then-Heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, Rock is quoted as saying...
"We're on a roll. The wind's at our back. Everything we've touched has turned to gold."
While the 3 Evander Holyfield fights would ultimately define his career, Bowe would lose the title to Holyfield in their second fight about 7 months after this quote.
Biggest disappointment of the issue is probably the one-page "Sports People" story about Shawn Bradley going on his Mormon mission prior to joining the NBA. Surprisingly bereft of any interesting anecdotes. A close runner-up is a big feature story on the history of ceremonial first pitches in major league baseball. Pretty boring for the most part.
NBA Coach Predictions
Finally, let's wrap things up by seeing how successful S.I. was in predicting which NBA coaches had the best chances of getting fired in April of '93....
Most Likely To Go - Ron Rothstein, Pistons
(Rothstein was fired at the end of the '93 season)
On The Bubble - Rick Adelman, Trail Blazers; Bob Hill, Pacers; Randy Pfund, Lakers; Jerry Sloan, Jazz
(Adelman lasted one more year before he was fired. Bob Hill was fired at the end of the season. Randy Pfund lasted until the end of the next season, when he was replaced by Magic Johnson. Jerry Sloan is still coaching the Jazz and is currently the 4th winningest coach in NBA history.)
Resigned To New Roles - Don Nelson, Warriors; Wes Unseld, Bullets
(Nelson lasted two more years in Golden State before jumping to the Knicks. Wes lasted one more year in Washington before getting the axe.)
Safe (Maybe) - Fred Carter, 76ers; Garry St. Jean, Kings; Bob Weiss, Hawks
(Carter was canned at the end of the '94 season. St. Jean lasted until 1997 with the Kings. Weiss went the way of Rothstein, getting fired at the end of the '93 season.)
So, by and large, the predictions were pretty solid. Only big misfire was Jerry Sloan.
Past S.I. reviews